18 June 2016

What is Home to You?

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my new book "Sex, Anarchy & Agriculture; One Woman's Quest for a Sustainable Home":
Home. Home is where the heart is, that's what they say. What does that even mean? My heart is in my body, and my body can't seem to stay in one place for more than a few months. Ok, I know the old saying means home is where your family is, where the people you love, live. But for me those people are spread out all over, and to be honest I wouldn't want to live with most of them anyway.
Home is where the art is. I named an art show that, once. Paintings of semi-idyllic, semi-apocalyptic landscapes. Millennium Gothic. And back to the body. I use my body to make the art, but where do the ideas come from? My brain, also my body? Or somewhere else. I have never been able to settle on a belief system for that one. All I know is that I don't know. Where does the art come from, and where does it go? In my case, everywhere. I have left my art in every house I have ever lived—more than a hundred houses now. My life has taken me to so many places, and I leave a trail of art-crumbs so that my family can find me, in case I get lost in the woods.
I leave the art behind, but my body goes with me, and everything I have done goes back to it. Wherever you go, there you are. Physically. And wherever you find yourself, that's the path. Castaneda talked a lot about the “path with a heart.” Is that the way home, then?
I call it “the destiny of vicinity.” Whatever I find myself around, that's what influences me. That's my path. That's what I do, whom I meet, who I love and fuck and live with. And those relationships influence my thoughts, my feelings, my choices. No man is an island, and women? Even less so.
How about you? Are you at “home”? Or just in a house somewhere? What is the compass you use to navigate your life? How has the placement of your physical body affected your path through the world?

04 June 2016

Get a real job? I have a real job!

A woman said to me recently "Maybe the reason you haven't found a good husband is because you are too sexual. Maybe you should forget about sex, contribute to the gene pool, and get a real job like the rest of us."

Or maybe the fact that we live in a world where one woman would say that to another is exactly why my work (as an unmarried childfree self-employed feminist who is at ease with her sexuality and not afraid to say it) is important? Women like me were burned alive for 500 years. Women like me are still being murdered for our beliefs, all over the world. Women like me have been scorned and marginalized for long enough. Women like me owe it to the women who have gone before us to be true to ourselves, and to speak out.

Forget about sex? Never. If anything, the more promiscuous I become with my thoughts, my ideas, the more promiscuous my body wants to be. You don't care about sex? No problem. But if you love it, if you know in your heart that your life has unfolded largely because of your pursuit of sexual pleasure and sexual love, then I am here to encourage you. As for that husband I seek? I will find one who loves and accepts me completely, for everything I am, or I will die trying.

And shame? You can shove your shame where the sun don't shine. Use lube, it feels better that way. 

29 March 2016

TIGERS don't lie.
They might lie in wait.
Sometimes maybe they lie around.
But they don't tell stories.
They don't omit the truth.
They live an honest life:
either they eat you
or they don't.

Elephants remember,
or so they say.
I imagine it would be hard to forget
all of those terrible things
that happened to them.
I wonder,
do they create their own reality
with all of those negative thoughts, 
those miserable memories?

Monsters don't dance
unless nobody is watching,
and then they can be quite graceful,
those knobby scaled toes,
just as light as a leaf on the wind.

--Heather Jo Flores, Spring 2016

09 March 2016

This is for You

This is for the women who love your bodies.
This is for the women who hate your bodies.

I never met anyone who didn't notice my boobs.
I never had a lover who didn't adore.
I never thought it was right to apologize for my appearance,
 and yet I have,
 I do,
 I will again.

Everybody I meet has something that makes them insecure.
Everyone I know wants to love and be loved.
Everyone I encounter lives in stretchy, mutable skin.

This is for the women who want to be loved for your minds.
This is for the women who don't mind being loved for your bodies, too.
This is for the women living in a world where pornographic sex is expected of you.
This is for the women who enjoy pornographic sex.

This is for the babies who are born with girl parts but feel like boys.
This is for the boys who eschew male privilege to live as women.
This is for the people who feel trapped inside someone else's body.

This is for the women who love your bodies but hate yourselves sometimes.
This is for the men who love women but treat them like a commodity, sometimes.
This is for the people who want to change but don't know how.

I'm getting older but I'm in the best shape of my life.
I'm getting older and the skin on my belly is starting to wrinkle and sag.
I'm getting older and I just realized I was beautiful.
I'm getting older and I'm afraid that age will destroy my beauty.

This is for my sisters who bear stretchmarks and love your children.
This is for the women who don't have any children.

This is for the fat girls who worked your asses off to get skinny.
This is for the skinny girls who wish you had a bigger butt.
This is for the fat girls who do yoga every day.
This is for the skinny girls who think you're fat.

This is for the people who use your bodies to grow food,
 to dance,
 to play with dogs and chase birds on the beach.

This is for the people whose bodies are broken.
This is for the people whose bodies are imprisoned,
 either behind bars or in relationships that hurt.

This is for all that is temporary,
 made of blood and bone.

This is a call to action:
 Raise your arms into the sky!
 Open your eyes as wide as you can!
 Slap yourself in the face!
 Stick out your tongue!
The only thing you own is you.

 --Heather Jo Flores, March 2016
#heatherjoflores #loveyourself #ownit

16 January 2016

The Heroine's Journey

Here is a critical and personal essay that I wrote as part of my MFA thesis. Let me know what you think!

The Heroine's Journey, Towards an Ecofeminist Storycraft
by Heather Jo Flores

The mystery of human destiny is not that we are fated, but that we have the freedom to fulfill or not fulfill our fate: realization of our fated destiny depends on us. While inhuman beings like the cockroach realize the entire cycle without going astray, because they make no choices.”
--Clarice Lispector, 
The Passion According to G.H. p. 129
It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarefied for us to breathe...The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” 
--Steven Pressfield, The War of Art, p. 37

The Hero's Journey

Most of us have heard of the hero's journey, and many of us have used the formula for our work. From storytellers to salespeople, the classic archetype of the hero, as he travels from catalyst to climax and conclusion, is a metaphor for the transformation that most people want to achieve. We all want to improve our lives, to become better people, to succeed. But what about the Heroine's Journey? Here I present an analysis of the classic formula, through a feminist lens. My intention is not to negate the archetype, but rather to enhance it and to offer an alternative for myself and others to use as we forge our stories and, by extension, our lives. My purpose is to present some questions, many of which do not have concrete answers. I ask the reader to be okay with this, to let the questions just be questions, and to allow this atmosphere of inquiry to shape the journey. Let us begin.